Date: December 1, 2022 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Hannah Huddleston | Styling: Hannah Huddleston |
In Northwest Arkansas, blogger Hannah Huddleston brings sweetness to this tart Christmas-table staple
Hannah Huddleston and her husband, Frederic, moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2021 with future retirement in mind. So far, it feels as though she was meant for life in the Ozarks. “I had chickens in San Diego; I always felt a little like a misplaced farm girl,” she says with a laugh. The pair looked all over—including in Texas, Arizona, and other parts of the Natural State—before finding the 17-acre plot of land they now call home in Berryville. “In San Diego, our yard was so small, you could be outside and touch your house and your neighbor’s fence,” she says. “Now we live on a river and have this beautiful view and quiet space. It’s what we’ve always wanted.”
No matter her zip code, Hannah’s always felt most at home in the kitchen. About three years ago, she started sharing her creations online through her blog, Sweet Savory Sour. “I’ve always loved cooking; it’s like a love language for me,” she says, a sentiment that makes her sound right at home in the South. Through the process, Hannah has found what she enjoys most is exploring unexpected flavor combinations. “The blog started to really inspire a lot of creativity and things to try. It’s like experimentation that you can eat and drink,” she says.
For this issue, we asked Hannah to take inspiration from cranberries, that classic ingredient that comes up in iterations sweet, savory, and sour. Among her creations was a batch of rosemary and cranberry “MaryBerry” cookies. “Cranberry has a bitterness to it. When you combine that with a sugar cookie, all that tartness gets balanced out and it just becomes more of a complex tasting cookie.” Try your hand at Hannah’s MaryBerry cookies and visit her blog (sweetsavorysour.com) for more cranberry-inspired treats.
Rosemary & Cranberry “MaryBerry” Cookies
Yields approximately 2 dozen cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup milk powder
3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoons meringue powder
5 tablespoons of water
white sanding sugar, for garnish
sugared cranberries, for garnish
rosemary sprigs, for garnish
Combine butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and milk powder in a large mixing bowl and mix until well combined and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix slowly until just combined. (If dough seems overly sticky, add a tablespoon of flour until it is soft and dry.) Roll dough onto a square of parchment paper no larger than a gallon-sized zip-close bag. Refrigerate in the bag for at least an hour.
When ready to bake, remove dough from the refrigerator and heat oven to 350ºF. Roll dough out to about ¼-inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to make about 24 cookies. Bake for 12 minutes, or until slightly golden throughout. Remove and allow to cool before decorating.
To make royal icing, combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water into a mixing bowl. Mix for 2-3 minutes. Icing is ready when a drizzle is reabsorbed within about 8-10 seconds. Use a piping bag to ice each cookie, starting with the perimeter. While icing is still wet, sprinkle with white sanding sugar and garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs. Allow to dry at least 2 hours before enjoying.
Gouda-cranberry bites are a hit with Hannah’s family.
Hannah also uses her blog to explore the art of tasty mocktails. “When we stopped drinking, we missed the ritual of sitting down on a Friday and having something fun to sip on while we relax; something more special and complex than a soda,” she says. This particular drink uses the star ingredient, cranberries, both mixed in and as a garnish along with a rosemary sprig and an orange twist.
Find recipes for Hannah’s berry pavlova, cranberry-citrus mocktail punch, gouda-cranberry bites, and more at sweetsavorysour.com.